Suheldev by Amish

If you were to ask a High School student in India if she has heard of Suheldev, chances are that she would reply in the negative. Likewise for the battle of Bahraich. Not because Suheldev was a fictional character, or Bahraich a fictional location. This important king and a very significant battle are simply left […]

Read More

Life Over Two Beers And Other Stories by Sanjeev Sanyal

Life Over Two Beers And Other Stories is Sanyal’s first published work of fiction. In his own words “—it sent me on a happy journey and I will probably remain primarily a non-fiction writer.” This collection of mostly satirical short stories is very approachable. A quick read, it elicits a smile or an acknowledgement every […]

Read More

The Marriage Bureau for Rich People by Farahad Zama

I read Vikram Seth’s Suitable Boy over two years ago. Yet many of the characters, even lesser ones – like Mahesh Kapoor, remain vivid in my memory. I can almost see the man when I close my eyes and try to imagine a scene from the story. One could argue that it’s unfair to compare […]

Read More

Mélange

Several months back, I began reading Salman Rushdie’s “Enchantress of Florence”. Even brilliance of prose can be tedious, as I realized not too far into the book. Nonetheless, it did trigger in me some interest in history. Out came a dusty paperback from my bookshelf, an old edition of History of India Vol. 2 by […]

Read More

Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri

An alternative title to Unaccustomed Earth could very well be-“The distraught lives of Bengali Americans”. It is no secret that Lahiri writes about Bengali Americans, their travails and search for identity. It was the prevalent theme in the much vaunted “Interpreter of Maladies.” It was the same theme expanded into a novel in “The Namesake.” […]

Read More

Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh

To read an Amitav Ghosh novel is not merely to get a glimpse of the best of contemporary Indian writing, but also a snapshot of an oft-ignored episode of history. The “Sea of Poppies” is no exception. After a somewhat lukewarm tryst with Sunderbans and the Gangetic Dolphin (Hungry Tide), the first novel of the […]

Read More

From Heaven Lake by Vikram Seth

When Vikram Seth traveled through China almost twenty five years ago, the country was much less fashionable in popular parlance than it is today. Sinkiang and Tibet are likely to be far more accessible to the tourist today, possibly even to the hitch hiker, which is what was Seth’s choice incarnate – an interesting albeit […]

Read More

The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

What becomes apparent soon into The White Tiger is its anger. This is the voice of the post liberal India, the generation after Rushdie and Mistry. While the principals of Mistry’s Fine Balance are crushed in subhuman surroundings, the one here rises in protest using the very system which keeps countless others like him in […]

Read More

The Shadow Lines by Amitav Ghosh

In his essay on the anti Sikh riots of Delhi (The Ghosts of Mrs. Gandhi), this is what Amitav Ghosh has to say about “The Shadow Lines”: a book that led me backward in time to earlier memories of riots, ones witnessed in childhood. It became a book not about any one event but about […]

Read More

Incendiary Circumstances by Amitav Ghosh

Incendiary Circumstances is a collection of seventeen essays, written over two decades, on the many social and political crises besotting our world. Here, our world is mostly confined to South Asia, parts of South East Asia (Burma/Myanmar and Cambodia), and Middle East(Egypt, Kuwait), “Half-made worlds”, in the words of V.S. Naipaul, which Ghosh refers to […]

Read More